Six Rescue Divers Drown in 'Whirlpool' Trying to Save 17-year-old Boy

A rescue mission was mired in tragedy this week when six divers, who were hunting for a teenager that had fallen into a mining pond in Malaysia, died after being trapped in a "whirlpool."

The hunt for the 17-year-old, named in local media as Mohd Ilham Fahmi Mohd Azam, resumed at 8 a.m. this morning, New Straits Times reported. Authorities said the water current remained strong and that any further operations would depend on weather conditions.

Search and rescue teams allegedly found the boy's body earlier today. The Selangor government has reportedly ordered the Sepang Municipal Council to close the mining pool.

The incident took place at the Taman Putra Perdana township in Selangor, Malaysia. According to Channel NewsAsia, the boy had been fishing by the banks of the mining pond with two friends on Wednesday when he slipped and fell into the water at approximately 6 p.m. local time.

Abdul Aziz Ali, Sepang District police chief assistant commissioner, told reporters Wednesday that the six divers had become caught in a strong "whirlpool." The team had been tied to a single rope—the standard operating procedure—when they entered the water at 9.15 p.m.

"Suddenly a strong current occurred in the area, causing all victims to spin in the water while all their equipment came off," the official stated, Channel NewsAsia reported. The chief added that the divers remained struggling in the water for another 30 minutes while other rescue personnel attempted to pull them out. When they emerged, all six were found to be unconscious.

Mohammad Hamdan Wahid, the director-general of the Fire and Rescue Department at the scene, told media that attempts to resuscitate the men had failed. "There is a floodwall at the location, but it was overflowed by floodwater," he said, according to the New Straits Times. "We will investigate the matter further to ensure this tragedy can be avoided in future," he added.

More than 500 people gathered to pay respects to the divers during prayers at a Fire and Rescue Station in Shah Alam on Thursday, reported StarTV, which published footage of the memorial.

The city of Shah Alam is the state capital of Selangor, Malaysia.

The body of Adnan Othman - one of the 6 firefighters who drowned while trying to save a teenager in Selangor - was carried out from his home in Port Dickson to the mosque for funeral prayers.

— Amir Yusof (@AmirYusofCNA) October 4, 2018

Four victims, from the Water Rescue Unit of Port Klang Fire and Rescue station, were named as: Mohd Fatah Hashim, 34; Izatul Akma Wan Ibrahim, 32; Mazlan Omarbaki, 25, and Yahya Ali, 24.

Two additional victims, of the Water Rescue Unit from the Shah Alam Fire and Rescue station, were identified as Adnan Othman, 33, and Muhammad Hifdzul Malik Shaari, 25.

Images and video footage claiming to show the rescue divers struggling in the water emerged on social media on Wednesday, but Malaysian officials urged the public not to share them.

"I urge…members of the media not to share a supposed video which showcased the last seconds of the six warriors during the rescue mission last night," said Fahmy Fadzil, the communications director of a political party, according to Channel NewsAsia. "Let's respect and give the families of the six firefighters some space to grief." Additional tributes were shared on Twitter.

Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the courageous #Malaysian PPDA divers who tragically perished during their attempt to save a drowning victim. Their selfless service to their country is a shining example for all Malaysians.
📸 @bombaJBPM #Hero #Wira #Malaysia

— U.S. Embassy KL (@usembassykl) October 4, 2018